(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Muriel Bowser today celebrated the topping out of the Entertainment and Sports Arena at St. Elizabeths East with Smoot-Gilbane construction workers and the Ward 8 community, signifying that the 4,200-seat arena and sports facility has reached its final construction height.
“Today, we put the top on a one-of-a-kind facility that is already bringing jobs to Ward 8, and there is still so much more to come,” said Mayor Bowser. “This project is bigger than basketball – it is about building pathways to the middle class and expanding prosperity by bringing jobs, entertainment, affordable housing, and more to every corner of our city.”
In 2015, the Bowser Administration, Events DC, and Monumental Sports & Entertainment announced plans to build the new state-of-the-art Entertainment and Sports Arena at the St. Elizabeths East Campus in Ward 8 in an effort to expand economic prosperity in the surrounding area. The venue will act as home court for DC’s WNBA team, the Washington Mystics, and new G League team, Capital City Go-Go, as well as the official practice facility for DC’s NBA team, the Washington Wizards. In addition, the Entertainment and Sports Arena will also serve as a world-class destination site within Ward 8 that will host cultural and community-based events.
“The new Entertainment and Sports Arena is a catalyst in the redevelopment of St. Elizabeths East campus,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner. “Today, we celebrate a milestone of transforming this long-vacant project into a thriving and vibrant community.”
The 120,000 square-foot facility is projected to produce $90 million in new tax revenue over 20 years and attract more than 380,000 visitors per year. The project has already created 600 construction jobs, and the arena will create another 300 permanent jobs once completed. Additionally, eleven Ward 7 and 8 businesses have been hired as subcontractors in trades such as excavation, flooring, roofing, and concrete; 62 percent of the contracts have been awarded to CBEs; and $8.8 million dollars in contracts have been awarded to Ward 7 and 8 businesses.
“Events DC is so proud to celebrate this important milestone for the Entertainment and Sports Arena project and to also applaud Smoot/Gilbane and their construction workers for their hard work and commitment to keeping this project on schedule. The Entertainment and Sports Arena is important not only for the attraction of new events and experiences to the city, but for DC’s greater economic development and job creation,” said Greg O’Dell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Events DC. “This arena will serve as a centerpiece for the revitalization of the historic Congress Heights neighborhood. We are a world-class destination and with the addition of this 4,200-seat arena, the District, our nation’s capital, continues to position itself as a vibrant global destination. There’s tremendous momentum occurring throughout DC’s urban core and this arena reinforces just that.”
The topping out represents a significant milestone for this community-changing project with completion scheduled for September 2018. Events DC will operate and manage the arena.
Throughout #pathwaystothemiddleclass week, Mayor Bowser is highlighting the resources and programs the Administration is using to expand economic prosperity across all eight wards. TheMayor was joined by Deputy Mayor Kenner, Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White, Greg O’Dell and Max Brown from Events DC, the Washington Mystics’ head coach Mike Thibault and playersTayler Hill and Natasha Cloud, Monumental Sports & Entertainment CEO Ted Leonsis, and Smoot-Gilbane project executive Mac Naeemi.